Friday, July 16, 2010

Usage Limits: Why I (Respectfully) Disagree

Recently, my library (like so many others) has experienced a drastic change in our budget. Hard choices were made, positions were eliminated, open hours were reduced, and the materials budget was cut. Accompanying these tragedies were some policy changes:

-The number of items that a customer can check out was reduced by more than half.
-The number of items that a customer can place on hold was drastically reduced.
-Items may not be placed on hold as soon as they are ordered; customers must wait until they have arrived at the library.

I have serious concerns about these new policies, because of the message they send. Setting such newly-stringent limits on usage conveys the message that usage is a burden to us. "Please check out fewer items," we're saying. "Please place fewer holds. Please use us less."

From a marketing perspective, I'm cringing. What kind of thing is that to say to your customers?

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